“Medical history with a humorous twist . . one of the funniest tours we’ve ever taken”

“Medical history with a humorous twist . . one of the funniest tours we’ve ever taken”

 Our review of Blood and Guts: The Twists and Turns of Edinburgh's Medical History Tour

Today Hailey (aged 11) and I travelled back in time over 500 years in the fair city of Edinburgh, to find out all about how our current doctors came to be. This guided walking tour started and ended at Surgeons Hall Museums, via other famous places including Greyfriars churchyard. Along the way, over 500 years of Edinburgh medical history were discussed – from James Young Simpson (famous for the use of chloroform as anaesthetic) to Burke and Hare’s ability to deliver ‘fresh’ corpses to Robert Knox for dissection. Historically speaking this information could have been a bit ‘dry’ but lucky for us, our tour guide made it one of the funniest tours we’ve ever taken!

Hailey liked that we saw all the different medical places that had been concerned in the Edinburgh ‘revolution’ of medicine, and found it “astonishing” to hear about what had happened in the past – full amputation of a leg in under two and a half minutes! She decided that “I’d much rather have been the surgeon than the patient”. We also got to hear a lot about Edinburgh history from our very knowledgable guide – not just of the medical variety, and all of it done with tongue firmly in cheek.

After the guided walking tour we had access to the Surgeons Hall Museum itself. Here we found lots of medical tools, specimens, body parts and skeletons. The massive collection ranges from dental through to surgical, and is a fascinating trip back through some gruesome history. Hailey liked the recreation of the dissection theatre saying “I can really feel what it would have been like to be training to be a doctor in the olden days”. Some things might not be best for younger children, but for those who are interested in what we look like on the inside, it’s just what the doctor ordered!

Overall I’d highly recommend it – the walking part is roughly 90 mins, and then you could use the same amount of time again to go through all the interesting exhibits on display.

* Blood and Guts: The Twists and Turns of Edinburgh's Medical History Tour runs most Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. Ticket includes museum access from 10am-5pm on the day of tour. Age guidance 10+. Tickets £9.50 (child), £10.50 (concs), and £13.50 (adult). Visit https://museum.rcsed.ac.uk/

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